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GOP senator credits Sinema for infrastructure deal

The Hill
The Hill
 2021-07-29
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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is crediting Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) with pushing a bipartisan infrastructure spending package over the finish line this week.

"It’s rare to have an elected official from one party publicly praising another from the opposite party, but I’m doing just that because it’s so essential for the future of our nation that Sinema holds fast in keeping the filibuster intact," Tillis wrote in an NBC News op-ed published on Wednesday. "If Democrats had eliminated the filibuster, there would have been no attempt to find common ground on infrastructure or other critical issues. It doesn’t necessarily make legislating easy, but it is getting members of both parties in the same room to work together for the good of the nation, as our Founding Fathers intended."

Ahead of a voting rights showdown in the Senate last month, Sinema announced her support for the legislative filibuster, a hurdle Democrats have said stands in the way of meaningful progress on a bevy of issues facing the country.

"The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles," she said at the time. "It is time for the Senate to debate the legislative filibuster, so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences. Hopefully, senators can then focus on crafting policies through open legislative processes and amendments, finding compromises that earn broad support."

Late Wednesday, the Senate voted to take up a bipartisan infrastructure package after months of debate and negotiations with the White House. Seventeen Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in supporting a motion to hold a vote on the package.

“We’re very excited to have a deal," Sinema told reporters after the vote passed. "I want to just say everyone has been incredible in doing this work for many months.”

Sinema and fellow moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have taken criticism from the progressive wing of their party for their support of the filibuster.

Upholding this precedent is a good thing, Tillis wrote in his op-ed.

"With Sinema and Manchin rejecting the coordinated pressure campaign, bipartisan support to pass any legislation is likely to remain a requirement," he wrote. "When Republicans eventually regain power, they can count me out of any effort to permanently destroy bipartisanship for the sake of scoring short-lived political gains, just as many of my colleagues and I refused to entertain the notion when Trump was in the White House."

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